Stevenage man jailed for attempted rape on 15-year-old girl

Stuart Simmonds

Stuart Simmonds - Credit: Archant

A man who tried to rape a 15-year-old girl but let her go after she said she was a Christian has been jailed.

Stuart Simmonds, of Collenswood Road in Stevenage, grabbed the youngster and dragged her into a ditch but stopped the assault when she promised not to tell police.

Simmonds, who was branded “dangerous” by Judge John Plumstead, was jailed for eight years on Monday and told he would remain on licence for a further seven years after his release.

The 22-year-old previously pleaded guilty to attempted rape and assault by penetration.

The attack happened in broad daylight between Hatfield and St Albans on April 5 this year, when the girl was on her school holidays.

She was grabbed from behind, dragged into a ditch and punched by Simmonds in the face.

After she begged him to stop, the court heard Simmonds helped the girl up, brushed her down and walked with her along an isolated footpath.

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When she said she had to buy sugar, he told her the cheapest place was Hatfield’s Aldi store. He then escorted the frightened youngster to the shop.

Passing sentence at St Albans Crown Court, Judge Plumstead said: “This is the nightmare of every parent and of every young woman that they will be attacked by a stranger and be subjected to violence and sexual assault.”

The judge said that when the girl told Simmonds she would not tell the police if he let her go, he asked how he could believe her.

She replied she was a Christian.

Her remark made him stop. She later told her parents and returned to the spot with detectives.

Before Simmonds was jailed, the court heard that as a 16-year-old he had carried out an almost identical attack on a 13-year-old girl walking home from school.

For that he received a six-month detention and training order at Luton Crown Court in 2007.